First Responders 04

Robert J. Pillion

April 17, 1942 ~ August 25, 2023 (age 81) 81 Years Old


Robert J. Pillion, 81, of Ottawa, passed away Friday, August 25, 2023 at his home.

Visitation will be Wednesday, August 30, from 4:00 until 7:00pm at Ottawa Funeral Home. A fire department walk through will take place at 4:30 pm and Knights of Columbus service at 7:00pm. Mass of Christian Burial will be on Thursday, August 31, at 10:30am at St. Columba Church, with Msgr. Mark Merdian officiating. Burial will follow in St. Columba Cemetery. 

Bob was born April 17, 1942, in Ottawa, IL, to Michael and Bertha (Day) Pillion. He married Gayle Redlich on January 23, 1965 at St. Patrick's Church in Ottawa. She passed away October 26, 2020.

He was a graduate of Marquette High School and later attended Northern Illinois University. He joined the Ottawa Fire Department on March 14, 1966. He went on to serve the citizens of Ottawa for 33 years. He retired after 15 years as chief on May 4, 1999. Family was everything to him. He enjoyed watching his children and grandchildren grow up and always attended their sporting events. For many years he traveled with Gayle to Florida where he made many friends and memories. In his free time, he enjoyed fishing, golfing at the Earlville Country Club, and sipping a glass of wine with friends and family. He was a member of the Knights of Columbus 4th Degree and St. Columba Church. 

He is survived by his children, Robert (Anne) Pillion, Jr., Laurie (Joe Cook) Pillion, and Michael (Jennifer) Pillion; his five grandchildren, Jack, Kate, Tess, Lauren, and Brendan; and his sister, Mary Ellen (Michael) Newton. He was preceded in death by his parents; his wife of 55 years, Gayle Pillion; and his brother Michael "Micky" Pillion.

Pallbearers will be Robert, Michael, Jack, and Brendan Pillion, Michael and Kevin Newton, Joe Cook, and John Liebhart.

Honorary pallbearers will be the Ottawa Fire Department Retirees. 

Memorials may be directed to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.


To send flowers to the family, please visit our floral store.

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August 30, 2023

4:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Ottawa Funeral Home
1111 LaSalle Street
Ottawa, IL 61350

Mass of Christian Burial
August 31, 2023

10:30 AM
St. Columba Catholic Church


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